God’s plan of redemption continues despite a rebellious humanity. And it so happened that when the fullness of time commenced in Christ, God also brought about the long anticipated new spiritual humanity comprised of new-heart humans called the Church. This new humanity is marked by having a circumcised heart, and a love for each individual within its body.
The Church is therefore a living organism comprised of all nations, its members are individually filled with the Holy Spirit–yet part of one body connected through a common faith in Jesus, the Messiah and Redeemer, and is the only vehicle through which God is now reconciling all humans who look to Christ in faith to Himself. Each individual-however unique–is called a Christian, i.e. one who follows Christ and His teachings.
It is important to point out that while the Church experiences all the blessings of God’s promises in Christ, it does not stand in replacement to the chosen family of Abraham. Instead the Church is ruled by the Spirit of God through regeneration and the circumcision of each heart that comes to God through their faith in Christ. Each member of the Church receives a new heart that is now able to love and listen to God (Deuteronomy 6:4-6), as well as to love others as God loved them. However, despite this new heart there still remains a sinful nature until after death, which is why the individuals of the Church are given spiritual gifts to edify and build the Church up until God snatches it out of the world. Furthermore, there is the hope too that the sinful nature of each person will be replaced upon each Christian’s death and resurrection with glorified bodies to be given in the future. In other words, the Church is comprised of individuals who have placed their faith in the Messiah–promised from the Old Testament–and as a result have received a circumcision of the heart as was promised long ago, however, they each walk in the tension of possessing a sinful nature that Christ is sanctifying (using all things in their life for good) and using each member’s gifts to edify, mature, and strengthen the Church in mutual love, submission, and humility.
Furthermore, the life, death, and resurrection of Christ was the institution of a New Covenant, which says all those who look to Christ in faith have the law written on their hearts, i.e. circumcised heart. The results of this New Covenant is reconciliation with God and the formation of a new humanity called the Church. Every human born after Christ only receives reconciliation with God through this New Covenant–and this reconciliation wrought in faith baptizes each individual into one new body, the Church. Christ is the King of each heart, they have been birthed to a new Lord, and as a result are able to walk in the newness of life. In addition, their (each member of the Church) hearts have been freed from the curse of sin, and they have been made a new creation. They are members of God’s Church, they are recipients of the New Covenant, and their aim now is to spread the message of the King—and the soon to be kingdom upon earth—who calls all men to repent and trust in Christ to be made right with God.
While the Church is now the vehicle through which God is reconciling mankind, it will not last forever on earth, but will be raptured before a great tribulation that is soon to be brought upon the earth to prepare it for Christ’s Kingdom and reign. God dealt with humanity’s sin on the cross, which provided a way for man to walk in reconciliation with Him; however, there remains judgment for all the world that will set the stage for the long anticipated promises of God to His chosen Jewish people to be fulfilled, as well as the full manifestation of Christ’s reign upon and over the earth. Christ initially came as the suffering Servant preparing the way for sinful hearts to be circumcised through faith in His life, death, and resurrection, but at His second coming He will be the conquering King. The period following Christ’s return to earth will last for 1,000 years with the Church by His side until God makes the new heaven and new earth. It will be in the new heavens and new earth that perfect fellowship with God will once again be restored. This is ultimate fellowship that will be experienced only by those who have exhibited faith in the promises and revelation of God–past, present, and future.
And so, the Church is the entity for which Christ sacrificed His life, and as a result is God’s only vehicle of reconciliation from the time of Christ’s resurrection until He sets up His reign and kingdom on earth. Therefore, each person must look to Christ in faith to be saved and eternally promised ultimate fellowship with Him forever. All those after Christ’s resurrection who have died, are dying, and will die without looking to Christ in faith are not part of this new humanity with a circumcised heart, but are rather still in their flesh and sin. As a result, they will suffer punishment for their sins, and will live in eternal torment separated from ultimate fellowship with God forever. God must be just and deal with sin and their flesh, and they simply can’t offer anything to pay for their sin–falling short of God’s holy standards–only a perfect sacrifice is acceptable to deal with and pay for their sins, which is exactly why Christ died. His perfect life for human sin…His righteousness for evil…given to anyone who at some point recognizes their separation from God because of their sin, and they transfer their trust from their life to the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. At which point, they become a Christian, they are regenerated, filled with the Holy Spirit, given Christ’s righteousness, converted from death to life, from Satan to God, are adopted into God’s new family, the Church, and now wait for Him to snatch them out of this world, give them a new glorified body, and place them in His presence for all of eternity.
Glory to our God…glory to our God…let all the earth sing glory to our God. He has made a way…He has made a way…let all the earth sing He has made a way. The Church. God’s new humanity. Maranatha!— July 7, 2017